White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters during Monday’s daily press briefing that President Trump “believes that the Native American community would be very angry” about Washington’s NFL team changing its name.
“These teams name their teams out of strength, not weakness,” McEnany said Monday when asked about the name change. “[Trump] says he believes that the Native American community would be very angry at this.”
The football team announced earlier Monday that it was retiring its “Redskins” name, which had long brought charges of racism. It has not yet announced a new name.
The team for years refused to consider changing the name, but that changed this summer after corporate sponsors and retailers pressured the team to drop the name.
Trump had defended the name in a July 6 tweet.
FedEx, which owns naming rights to Washington’s NFL stadium, had threatened to pull out of business dealings with the team unless the name was changed.
Eighty-seven investment firms and shareholders also sent letters to top executives at Nike, FedEx and PepsiCo urging the companies to sever ties with the organization unless it changed its name. The 87 firms represent more than $620 billion in assets.
Amazon, Walmart, Nike and other major retailers also pulled the team’s merchandise from their respective websites in recent weeks.
“We’ll never change the name,” Washington owner Dan Snyder told USA Today in 2013. “It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.”